Where were you born and raised?
I was born in St. Paul and grew up in Cottage Grove, Minn.
Where do you currently reside?
Five things you love about the Twin Cities:
1.Anyone who considers themselves a hockey fan has not experienced an NHL game until they have seen a Wild game at the Xcel Energy Center.
2. St. Paul and Minneapolis have a great selection of live performance theaters.
3.As I drove a film director from New York around the Twin Cities one day I realized how much I take the many lakes and the Mississippi River that runs between the two cities for granted. He was so impressed with the area, he wrote a screenplay and is shooting a feature film here this summer.
4. Whether you’re sipping a pint with friends at The Liffey in St. Paul, or on a romantic evening with someone special at Nicollet Island Inn on the banks of the Mississippi in Minneapolis, the many diverse options you have to spend your evening is a great asset to the Twin Cities.
5. The people. Hey, they call it “Minnesota Niceâ€ for a reason.
Favorite hidden treasure that visitors shouldn’t miss:
Rice Park in downtown St. Paul at night. The lights on the trees and the old brick roads create a very nostalgic atmosphere.
How did the Solstice Film Festival come about?
I wanted to create an event that celebrated film, filmmakers and the filmmaking process, providing a stage where filmmakers can show the world their art, and show their families and friends that chasing their dreams isn’t a waste of time. And, much like the filmmakers, I wanted to show the world something I am passionate about and proud of. I know what it’s like to face the doubters and struggle financially to chase your dreams, so Solstice is a celebration for all of us.
Why is St. Paul the right location for the festival?
There is a certain energy in downtown St. Paul I haven’t experienced anywhere else. When I was designing the business model for Solstice, I knew I wanted to create an event that allowed attendees to park their car or walk out of their hotel room and be in the heart of the festival. Every event of Solstice is within walking distance from one another. We build a temporary, state-of-the-art cinema inside the Fitzgerald Theater. Watching a movie inside a venue with that architecture brings the attendee back to the old art house days.